Create+Post+Share=Learn?

When I was a child, communication was so much different compared to communication opportunities young people have access to today. I remember a dial-type stationary phone at home. I used it to call my friend and invite her to go outside to play. It was a success if I could find her at home at that moment… Another available communication tool was mail. I had some penpals living in other towns and every month I used to send them mails to tell how I am doing and exchange stamps with them in order to fill each others’ collections. All of the other forms of communication were face to face.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Now students are using online chats, video calls, and sometimes emails. Emails aren’t that popular in our school in youth circles. Social media came to my life only when I was 16 and it didn’t really seem to me that I could learn something useful using it. Years have passed and my opinion of the ways in which we can use social media has drastically changed. Few years ago I discovered Twitter to be a great tool for gathering and sharing information with other educators all over the world. The entire world of educational contacts, as well as resources, has opened up to me. This twitter experience made me seek for more and find new educational resources shared by groups of educators via Facebook: EdTechTeam Global Community, Seesaw Tech Integrationists, Seesaw Ambassadors, Teachers Using Google Suite For Education, Technology Teacher Talk With Brittany Washburn, Facebook Group Teach With Tech. Now I am successfully using these and many other resources found on social media for my professional development.

New trends in education are approaching us online every day. As I’ve already mentioned in my other COETAIL blog post, # is a really helpful character in this process. It allows me to search for appropriate content sorted out by specific keywords. For example #earthday or #coetail, etc. allows me to find all topic related posts shared by other people on social media. It is a real treasure for an educator if you know how to use it 🙂

Before the beginning of my COETAIL journey, my opinion about social media was completely different. My students are up to 10 years old and I can’t really use social media tools with my students – they are too young for it. However, I realized that there are ways to utilize special/closed social media platforms or communities created for specific purposes, such as Seesaw, Google Classroom, Padlet, Flipgrid, Google Sites, Blogger, etc. Such online tools might work as an affinity space for small groups of students where students can share their learning experience, help classmates to learn, and even come up with new solutions and trends. Learning model based on communication might be an introduction to participatory culture for younger students. Students can build a basic understanding of proper communication online and see the value of sharing ideas with other people as well as working towards the same goal in groups. Unfortunately, sometimes teachers are still asking to disable chats on some learning platforms – I don’t see many reasons to do that. How will students learn proper communication online if they don’t practice it?

“…participatory cultures represent ideal learning environments. Gee (2004) calls such informal learning cultures “affinity spaces,” asking why people learn more, participate more actively, engage more deeply with popular culture than they do with the contents of their textbooks.” Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture (John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation)

Photo by Johnson Wang on Unsplash

According to a Pew Research Center survey, 24 percent of teenagers are online “almost constantly,” so it’s essential that they know how to handle themselves there. Rules for Social Media, Created by Kids (NYTimes)

Since many students, especially older ones, already have some social media skills and are using it quite actively, I think it can also be a great place for learning. Especially, having in mind all of those stories of success of young people building their own learning and sharing environment and, as a result, coming up with some successful business ideas.

Ashley Richardson (Jenkins, 2004b) was a middle-schooler when she ran for president of Alphaville. She wanted to control a government that had more than 100 volunteer workers and that made policies that affected thousands of people. She debated her opponent on NationalPublic Radio. She found herself in the center of a debate about the nature of citizenship, about how to ensure honest elections, and about the future of democracy in a digital age. Alphaville is the largest city in the popular multiplayer game, The Sims Online. (John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation)

To Copy or Not to Copy…

Citing sources and Copyright
Copyright is a law we all have to follow in order to respect others’ rights. Giving credit to the author is a must nowadays. Following all the copyright guidelines and rules may sound like a tremendous amount of work, or like a very strong limiting factor. Fortunately, thanks to the development of technology, life of our students became a little bit easier. Citing resources has changed as well, thanks to online citation generators such as MyBib, EasyBib. They allow students to generate a citation easily just by copying and pasting the URL address or ISBN code (for books) of the chosen resources in order to get all necessary details for the citation in the correct order. Remembering my days at schools and university… this process wasn’t that easy back then 🙂
In my opinion, teacher, as a role model for students, should show an example of fair use attitude. Unfortunately, teachers still need reminders about watermarked picture use in their presentations, posters, etc. I find the pictograph by Langwithes an amazing step by step guide which helps you follow the copyright as well as provide a basic understanding of all types of copyright existing in the ocean of the internet. This tool could be really helpful to all teachers, who aren’t sure about the fair use of digital content. One more great visual (learning from visuals is exciting!) by The Visual Learning Guy displays copyright, fair use, creative commons, and public domain all in one graph. If you can wrap your head around those four concepts, image copyright won’t seem so scary. Curtis Newbold, March 24, 2016.
I Love Unsplash, Piqsels, Pixabay, and Creative Commons. Also, I use filters in Google Search. Unfortunately, sometimes it is not easy to find a picture matching your needs exactly. After attending a workshop led by Keri Lee Beasley I came up with an idea, that students could create their own images and their collections. At the workshop, Keri taught some simple photography concepts and basic rules that could help make a good picture. I also found similar tips here – Depositphotos.
We love taking pictures and we are doing it every day and everywhere with our powerful smartphones. Why don’t we learn a few simple rules and apply them every time we are taking a picture and collect them in great collections. For example, my COETAIL blog header picture is a creation of mine and I’m very happy that I can use it without any permission.

Remix and Participatory Cultures
Remixing culture is very common in education. We are learning from the best authors, artists, singers, composers, educators, business managers, personalities and explore their best works as examples. Remixing culture is inevitable from education in many cases.

Image from Piqsels

Furthermore, I would like to share an example of remix culture from my country – Lithuania. Jolita Vaitkutė is a young Lithuanian artist recreating portraits of famous people as well as artworks by using food, books, recycling materials, pencils, etc. and shares it all online.
Recently, with all of the COVID-19 situation, staying at home became a mission impossible for some people. Fortunately, some cultural institutions, such as theater, opera, music halls, ballets, etc., have started various initiatives that perfectly meet the remixing culture description. For example, museums have encouraged people to recreate iconic paintings using any household items they have by their hand. Read more about it from Bored Panda. By recreating all those paintings people could also broaden their knowledge about the art. I believe, all this situation made many of us, young and old, move towards the participatory culture. According to Henry Jenkins, it is a culture with relatively low barriers to artistic expression and civic engagement, strong support for creating and sharing one’s creations. All this world crisis made us start thinking differently.

Forms of participatory culture include:
Affiliations— memberships, formal and informal, in online communities centered around various forms of media, such as Friendster, Facebook, message boards, metagaming, game clans, or MySpace).
Expressions— producing new creative forms, such as digital sampling, skinning and modding, fan videomaking, fan fiction writing, zines, mash-ups).
Collaborative Problem-solving— working together in teams, formal and informal, to complete tasks and develop new knowledge (such as through Wikipedia, alternative reality gaming, spoiling).
Circulations — Shaping the flow of media (such as podcasting, blogging

Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture (John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation)

Resources:

“Back To Basics: 10 Composition Rules In Photography.” Depositphotos Blog, 7 Dec. 2016, blog.depositphotos.com/back-to-basics-10-composition-rules-in-photography.html. Accessed 16 Apr. 2020.

“Copyright Flowchart: Can I Use It? Yes? No? If This… Then….” Silvia Tolisano- Langwitches Blog, 10 June 2014, langwitches.org/blog/2014/06/10/copyright-flowchart-can-i-use-it-yes-no-if-this-then/. Accessed 16 Apr. 2020.

Newbold, Curtis. “You Can Use a Picture If: Guidelines for Image Copyrights.” The Visual Communication Guy: Designing Information to Engage, Educate, and Inspire People, 24 Mar. 2016, thevisualcommunicationguy.com/2016/03/24/you-can-use-a-picture-if-guidelines-for-image-copyrights/. Accessed 16 Apr. 2020.

Pat Tamarin Pat Tamarin, et al. “Museums Ask People To Recreate Famous Paintings With Anything They Can Find At Home, Get 35 Hilarious Pics.” Bored Panda, 18 Dec. 1969, www.boredpanda.com/art-recreation-at-home-museum-challenge/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=organic. Accessed 16 Apr. 2020.

Wikipedia Contributors. “Remix Culture.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 31 Oct. 2019, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remix_culture. Accessed 16 Apr. 2020.